Whoever said yoga was girly had it all wrong. It takes incredible strength and muscle control. Plus, increased flexibility prevents and helps injuries. Add an instable paddleboard on water? We can’t think of a better supplement to your weekly gym routine.
Q, a blog by Equinox, just released a new SUP paddle video with yoga instructor Dice lida-Klein that demonstrates the benefits of SUP yoga. Every guy likes a challenge, and balancing on water provides a core workout from beginning to end. “Your whole midsection will have to work to keep you balanced and afloat,” says Iida-Klein. “You have to work harder and focus more on the water.” Quick-twitch muscles you weren’t aware of fire-off in muscle groups with a simple pose.
Iida-Klein suggests starting with a paddle-only warm-up of 30-45 minutes, and then moving to 30-45 minutes of yoga. “Mix it up, do what feels good to your body that day,” says Iida-Klein. “If you get bored, switch it up and do the reverse order of what you’re used to doing.” With firmly planted hands and feet, you’ll set a strong foundation and find a better sense of balance. “Moving from posture to posture is a tougher element,” says Iida-Klein. Start with one posture at a time. Find the center of your board again. Then move into the next posture.
His main advice for beginners? Don’t be afraid to fall. “The quicker you become okay with falling into the water, the better you’ll feel and the easier it will be,” he says. When you fall on the board, push it away with your hands and feet to avoid hurting yourself. And make sure you’re on deep enough water, sans sharp rocks or objects. Other than that, it’s simple: grab a board and go. Interested in trying SUP yoga from your own dock? Here are Iida-Klein’s two favorite moves to get you started.
Downward Facing Dog: Start on your hands and knees. Spread your fingers wide apart. Root your index finger and thumb to the board. Curl your toes under and lift your butt to the sky while relaxing your neck. Work on pushing through your hands, and lift your forearms up and away from the board. Pull your navel to your spine to engage the core, rooting your heels to the ground. If your lower back is tight, bend at the knees and keep the bend while attempting to lift your butt to the sky. Hold for a minimum of five breaths or at least 30 seconds. Repeat three times.
Body Benefit: elongates your calves, hamstrings and lower back. Strengthens upper back and shoulders and pulls your core tight.
Knee Lunges: Start in downward dog and step your left foot forward in between your hands while placing the right knee down on your board. Keep your front toes pointing directly forward, lift the five toes to engage your leg and lift your arch. Tuck your back toes under for stability. Your feet should be hips distance apart even though they are in two different places. Be sure to root through your heel and ball of your front foot, and push through your toes and ball of your back foot. Place your hands on your thighs for stability. For an extra balancing challenge, send your hands to the sky, palms facing one another. Draw your navel in slightly to engage your core. Come back to downward dog and repeat with your right foot forward. Hold each side for five breaths or 30 seconds each.
Body Benefit: opens the thighs, hip flexors and psoas.